The Impact Of New York City’s New Minimum Wage

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the impact of New York City raising the minimum wage over the past four years.

The editorial reports:

Over the past four years, the minimum wage for New York City restaurants that employ more than 10 workers went from $10.50 an hour to $15. That’s a whopping 43% increase. Next year, every restaurant, big and small, will have to pay their workers at least $15 an hour.

A big victory for workers, right? That’s how it’s depicted by the “Fight for $15” crowd. And, yes, if you held a full-time minimum-wage job over those years, your gross income would have gone up by $9,360.

But those massive wage hikes come at a painful cost that backers refuse to acknowledge. They kill jobs. Just like they’re doing right now in New York City.

In just the last three months of last year, 4,000 workers lost jobs at full-service restaurants, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.

One of the problems here is a misunderstanding of the purpose of the minimum wage. A minimum-wage job should not be an ultimate goal. A minimum-wage job should be a way to enter into the workforce and learn some basic skills–dealing with people, being punctual, having manners, etc. Theoretically these basic skills will allow you to advance to a job that pays better than minimum wage.

The editorial continues:

Even during the Great Recession, restaurant workers didn’t suffer as much as they are now. In fact, over the course of the recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, the number of restaurant jobs in the city actually increased by 1,800.

It’s getting so bad that fast-food workers now want the city to protect them from getting fired without “just cause.”

Those who keep their jobs aren’t necessarily better off, either.

The Hospitality Alliance survey found that more than three quarters of New York restaurants cut worker hours in 2018 to offset that year’s wage hike. Seventy-five percent say they want to cut hours this year.

“Though the new regulations are intended to benefit employees, some restaurateurs and staffers say that take-home pay ends up being less due to fewer hours — or that employees face more work because there are fewer staffers per shift,” notes Tara Crowl in an article in New York Eater.

The results of a significant increase in the minimum wage in New York City are similar to the results of a significant increase in the minimum wage in Seattle and in Illinois. It seems to me that we need to stop making the same mistakes over and over again and take a good look at the results. Rather than increase the minimum wage, we should be encouraging people to learn the skills they need to get them into jobs that pay better than minimum wage. We should also realize that raising wages too high too fast will create unemployment–not wealth.

Most People Got Bigger Tax Refunds This Year Than Last Year

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about this year’s tax refunds. The article was in response to a Washington Post article claiming that people were getting lower tax refunds this year than last year.

The article at Hot Air pointed out a number of things that might result in getting a smaller tax refund:

But since we have to play this game, let’s figure out why your refund is smaller. Did you get a raise or a significant bonus last year? Did you perhaps start a new job that pays more? Were there any other major changes in your financial situation? Tax filing company Intuit has a list of possible explanations you could look for. They include things such as your filing status changing, the selling of assets or the possibility that you were hit with a penalty.

There will be a small number of people who lost out on part of their SALT (state and local tax) deductions, but that should really only have a significant impact on people in high-tax states like New York who are earning well into six figures. As for everyone else, if your income went up, did you adjust your withholdings accordingly? If not, perhaps you need to have a chat with an accountant.

The article also reminds us that a tax refund is a refund of the money that you gave to the government during the year. You allowed them to have that money interest free until you filed your tax return and they were obligated to give the money back to you. Ideally, your tax refund should be small–that means that you correctly calculated the amount of money you actually owed the government. The question is not how big your tax refund is–the question is how much money you actually paid in taxes. The size of your tax refund is simply a reflection of how much money the government took from you during the year.

How Cutting Taxes Creates Revenue

On November 16th, Hot Air posted an article about the impact of the Trump tax cuts on government revenue. As I am sure you remember, the Democrats called the tax cuts on individuals ‘crumbs’ and swore that the tax cuts would bankrupt the country. Well, that’s not exactly what happened.

The article reports:

Unemployment is at an historic low. Employment is at an all-time high. Wagers are growing after years of stagnation.

And now from all that increased economic activity, the federal government has just reported historic record tax revenues in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, of $252,692,000,000.

That’s more than $11.4 billion above revenue for October of last year, which was the previous record tax revenue for an October.

And it did this by collecting more than $3 billion less in personal income taxes, thanks to the tax cuts.

The new revenues were the result of increased business taxes because of increased business. Here’s how much different it was:

Corporation income tax receipts to the U.S. Treasury this year in October were a whopping $8,000,000,000. This compares to the previous October’s $3.8 billion.

Despite the record tax revenues in October, the federal government ran a deficit of $100.5 billion that month because, spending. That’s a problem that newly-elected members of Congress such as Indiana’s senator-elect Mike Braun, a businessman, said would be a major target in 2019.

The thing to remember here is that as unemployment decreases, government spending should also decrease. Unfortunately Congress did not get the message. Our problem is not the revenue–the problem is the spending. If either party were serious about curbing government spending, it would have been done by now. Obviously they are not. There are a few members of the Republican party who have been trying to put the brakes on runaway spending for years, but they are either not trying very hard or they are ineffective. At any rate, we need to elect Congressmen (regardless of party) who will pledge to bring the spending under control. It does no good to increase the revenue if the spending increases right along with it.

It’s Not The Income–It’s The Spending

CNS News posted an article today about the tax revenue the government has received in the first six months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of March). The government has collected $7,387,280,000 more in income tax revenue in the first six months of fiscal 2017 than were collected in the first six months of fiscal 2016.

The article reports:

The federal government also collected $547,491,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes during the first six months of fiscal 2017. That is about $2,731,820,000 more than the $544,491,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes (in constant 2017 dollars) that the government collected in the first six months of fiscal 2016.

Despite collecting record amounts of individual income taxes and payroll taxes, the Treasury still ran a deficit of $526,855,000,000 in the first six months of fiscal 2017. (The emphasis is mine)

No matter how much money we give them, it will never be enough. We need a budget (not continuing resolutions) that does the things that are constitutional for the federal government. All other functions need to be left for the states (as stated in the Tenth Amendment). Spending cuts are needed.

If Your State Has High Unemployment, Read This

Forbes Magazine posted a story last Tuesday about what has happened to the North Carolina economy. The change began in 2013 (just before we got here). At that point the North Carolina General Assembly was controlled by Republicans and a Republican was governor.

The article reports:

Unemployment insurance (UI) reform in North Carolina continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. The 2013 UI reform, made possible by the Republican-dominated General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory, will enable $240 million in tax savings for state employers in 2016 alone, thanks to a UI Trust Fund that has grown to over $1 billion. In addition, the Tar Heel State’s 2013 tax reform bill will once again lower the corporate income tax rate, from 5% to 4% (it was 6.9% prior to 2013).

Please follow the link above to read the entire story, but here are a few of the highlights:

In February of that year, Governor McCrory signed a bill that reduced the maximum amount and duration of unemployment benefits to levels in line with those of neighboring states. This triggered the cutoff of long-term federal UI benefits being moved up by six months.

…Ironically, in his 2010 economics textbook, Krugman (Paul Krugman) expressed an opposing sentiment. “Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect,” wrote Krugman, explaining that granting more generous benefits “reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job.”

…Due to the reforms, however, the federal UI tax hikes were halted in 2014, and dropped back to standard rates after the debt was paid off last year. The result has been significant tax relief for job providers.

The second major change in 2013 was the recalibration of DES under the leadership of former state House Speaker pro-tempore Dale Folwell. Today, the call center answers 97% of incoming calls, up from a dismal 5%, and the average appeals process has been driven down to just 74 days from seven months.

…Today, North Carolina’s fiscal health is in far greater shape than it was in 2012, thanks to bold unemployment insurance reforms that will enable an additional $240 million in tax relief for state employers in 2016. For a roadmap to UI reform, states should look no further than North Carolina, where a crackdown on fraud has saved tax dollars and early debt repayment has enabled massive savings for job creators.

The numbers above are helping draw additional businesses and jobs to North Carolina. I like that, but I also wish that other states would follow our lead. The five-percent plus unemployment rate in America is a joke–the labor participation rate is dangerously low. I am hoping for all Americans to have a chance to find the jobs they want. Following the example set by North Carolina would be a step in that direction.

Was Obamacare About Healthcare Or Taxes ?

Reuters reported on Monday that the Internal Revenue Service has released new rules concerning dividends and capital gains as part of the 2010 healthcare law. The obvious questions here is, “What do dividends and capital gains have to do with healthcare?” Evidently more than we knew.

The article reports:

The tax affects only individuals with more than $200,000 in modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), and married couples filing jointly with more than $250,000 of MAGI.

The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives.

The 159 pages of rules spell out when the tax applies to trusts and annuities, as well as to individual securities traders.

Released late on Friday, the new regulations include a 0.9 percent healthcare tax on wages for high-income individuals.

Please keep in mind that the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) was originally enacted to impact only the wealthy. As of 2011, a single person who made $48,450 was impacted by that tax. I really don’t consider $48,450 wealthy. How long will it be before the new healthcare taxes begin to impact the middle class?

The article further points out:

The IRS plans to release a new form for taxpayers to fill out for this tax when filing 2013 returns.

Oh joy.

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News That Really Does Not Make Me Happy

Bloomberg reported yesterday that incomes in America declined more in the three year expansion since 2009 than during the longest recession since the Great Depression. The ‘great recession’ in America officially ended in 2009. There is a technical definition of a recession, and according to that definition, the recession in America ended in 2009. However, the income and unemployment numbers for Americans have not improved.

The article reports:

“Almost every group is worse off than it was three years ago, and some groups had very large declines in income,” Green (Gordon Green, Sentier Research LLC.), who previously directed work on the Census Bureau’s income and poverty statistics program, said in a phone interview today. “We’re in an unprecedented period of economic stagnation.”

While gains in hourly earnings and average hours worked per week may have had “a minor mitigating effect” on income declines, they couldn’t offset a jobless rate that hasn’t fallen below 8 percent since February 2009 and a record duration of unemployment, according to the Annapolis, Maryland-based firm.

The average duration of unemployment increased to a record 41 weeks in November and remains at 39 weeks, Labor Department data show. Almost 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for at least six months.

This snapshot of the economy does not bode well for the re-election chances of Barack Obama.

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Sorting Out The Numbers In The Class Envy Promotion

It has already become obvious that one of the issues in the 2012 elections will be the evil rich who keep getting richer. Just in case you were wondering, I am not in any danger of entering that class. Anyway, we recently heard that as the rest of us are eating out less often and keeping our cars longer, the evil rich are prospering at a fantastic rate. Well, not so fast.

An article slated for tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal takes apart the numbers and reveals what has really happened to the rich under the Obama administration.

The article reports:

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CB0) says, “The share of income received by the top 1% grew from about 8% in 1979 to over 17% in 2007.”

I’m not positive, but I suspect either Barack Obama or Joe Biden has referenced those numbers in recent days. If not, I am sure you can find them in sound bites from other Democrat leaders. Do you wonder why the numbers stop at 2007? There is a reason.

The article further reports:

The CBO didn’t say, although its report briefly acknowledged—in a footnote—that “high income taxpayers had especially large declines in adjusted gross income between 2007 and 2009.”

No kidding. Once these two years are brought into the picture, the share of after-tax income of the top 1% by my estimate fell to 11.3% in 2009 from the 17.3% that the CBO reported for 2007.

The article explains the different types of income the rich receive and how they are taxed. It also explains the impact of changing tax rates in various areas. Please read the entire article to understand how the Obama administration is twisting the facts in order to stir up class warfare.

The article concludes:

If Congress raises top individual tax rates much above the corporate rate, many billions in business income would rapidly vanish from the individual tax returns the CBO uses to measure the income of the top 1%. Small businesses and professionals would revert to reporting most income on corporate tax returns as they did in 1979.

If Congress raises top tax rates on capital gains and dividends, the highest income earners would report less income from capital gains and dividends and hold more tax-exempt bonds. Such tax policies would reduce the share of reported income of the top earners almost as effectively as the recession the policies would likely provoke. The top 1% would then pay a much smaller portion of federal income taxes, just as they did in 1979. And the other 99% would pay more. As the CBO found, “the federal income tax was notably more progressive in 2007 than in 1979.”

We need to cut government spending. Until we get spending under control (back to below 20 percent of the GDP as it was before President Obama took office), we will never be able to raise taxes enough to pay the cost of government. Even if we confiscated all the money and property from everyone who made more than $100,000 a year, we would still not pay off our debt or be able to stop borrowing one out of every four dollars we spend. It’s the spending, stupid.

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